New postdoc joining in September
We are delighted to welcome Gregor Mathes to our team. His research interests include conservation palaeontology, analytical macroecology, and data science. He applies novel statistical tools to the fossil record to gain insights about Earths history. Using this information about the past, he focuses on the conservation of recent biodiversity under current climate change.
A perspective on a new research
An exciting, new study by Sibert and Rubin in Science based on deep sea core sediments suggests that today's low diversity of oceanic sharks might be the result of a dramatic and mysterious extinction event, ~19Ma.
Pimiento and Pyenson wrote a perspective on this finding, pointing out that such dramatic biodiversity loss feels like a déjà vu given that today, overfishing is causing an extinction of similar proportions (but at at a much faster rate) not only in the the open ocean, but also in shallow waters.
Our new publication
We analysed the oldest fossil occurrences of all extant sharks and rays and found that while living genera extend 190 Ma,
species can go back in geologic time as far as 66Ma. Interestingly, species currently threatened with extinction have the oldest records.
We infer †O. megalodon body dimensions based on anatomical measurements of five ecologically and physiologically similar extant lamniforms. Our results suggest that a 16 m †O. megalodon likely had a head ~ 4.65 m long, a dorsal fin ~ 1.62 m tall and a tail ~ 3.85 m high. Morphometric analyses further suggest that its dorsal and caudal fins were adapted for swift predatory locomotion and long-swimming periods.